It's almost the New Year, and so many Moms are vowing to get healthier and exercise more. Since I recently lost about 20 pounds, it's really important for me to keep the momentum going. I wish I had a magic wand that would make me only crave salad and oatmeal, and push my chocolate cravings aside. But, since I don't, I'm constantly thinking of creative ways to get myself and my family healthier. One thing that really helps is getting my kids to eat healthier with me. That way, we can snack together.
Here are some things that work for us, and might work for you too:
1) Frozen onions, peppers and spinach might not sound very appealing, but they are some of the easiest veggies to sneak into food. You can mix it in with pasta & parmesan, sneak it into eggs in your breakfast burritos, or add it to your stuffed chicken breasts.
2) I also always have a variety of canned beans in the pantry. My two year old absolutely loves bean salad - seriously. You can easily make your own by mixing up some canned beans and light Italian salad dressing, but if you have a Trader Joes nearby, you have to try their canned bean salad. I think my two year old could eat an entire can of that bean salad by himself!
3) Bake your own muffins or mid-morning snacks with healthy ingredients instead of grabbing the processed stuff. If you think you're too busy to do this, I assure you it can be done. My sister, who works full time and has an active toddler, bakes in bulk on the weekend, then, uses some of her muffins throughout the week, and freezes the rest in single portions. From my experience, your family will prefer your home-made goodies to the sugary store bought snacks
4) Dip, Dip, Dip! It's such an easy way to get kids eating raw veggies. I always make my kids their own little plate of veggies and dip in the late afternoon or before dinner if they're asking for a snack. Their favorite dip is ranch, but sometimes I make my own yogurt dip as a healthier alternative.
Some of my other favorites are homemade fruit smoothies in the warmer months, mini whole wheat pitas with spinach dip, and big salads. Yum!
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has a an easy tool to find the daily recommendations for your family members. Just enter in the age, sex, and physical activity level in the 'How Many Fruits and Vegetables Do You Need? interactive tool' and it will give you a guide as to the recommended daily intake of fruits and veggies for children and adults.
What are some of your healthy family favorites?